Every year, I bake a collection of holiday cookies, and I love the entire process. If there is one time when I am glad that I got the baking gene (and its inherent organization skills), its at Christmas time. I thought that I would share some of the tips I've learned over the years to apply to your own baking marathon. The cookies above, from top: Gingerbread People (with cinnamon candy buttons); Chocolate Wafers with Candy Cane Crunch; Rainbow Cookies; Pfefferneusse; Sugar Cookies (stars); Peanut Butter Blossoms; Sugar Cookies (trees); Diane's Walnut Thumbprints (Sonia Henies); center, Ginger Molasses Cookies. I will be posting the recipes that aren't linked.
In my career, I have worked with some of the very best bakers in the world, starting in Chocolatier (now Pastry Professional) Magazine, and up through such cookbooks as THE BAKER'S DOZEN COOKBOOK, Rose Levy Beranbaum's CHRISTMAS COOKIES, FROM MY HANDS TO YOURS (with Sarabeth Levine), and THE MODEL BAKERY COOKBOOK. I know cookies. So, when I come across a recipe that makes my mouth water, you can be sure it is a winner. I've just finished baking my Christmas cookies, and I'd like to post some of my favorites. Actually, I have so many special recipes to make them all, so I have had to put them in rotation. One that always makes the list is Italian Rainbow Cookies, one that I learned a long time ago. Outside of its sensational almond flavor and moist texture, these bars keep for a week or so. I usually get about 54 cookies, because they are rich and you don't want them to be too big.